Please bookmark this page. We will update this page with information about COVID-19 as it relates to Seattle Waldorf School.
- Announcement of school closure starting March 12 (March 11, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (March 11, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (March 8, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (March 6, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (March 4, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (March 1, 2020)
- Message to the Seattle Waldorf School Community (February 26, 2020)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Washington State Department of Health (DoH)
- Public Health – Seattle and King County
King County COVID-19 Updates (this page lists updates and includes a link to sign up for free email alerts)
- World Health Organization
- Guidelines for Gatherings of Children and Youth While Schools Are Closed
- New COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations: How Do These Affect Schools?
- Coronavirus Basics: A Medical Expert Gives Us a Foundation for Understanding
- Public Health Recommendations to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus
- How to talk to children about difficult news
- Explaining the News to Our Kids
- How to Talk to Kids About the Coronavirus Outbreak
- How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Seattle Waldorf School closing?
Seattle Waldorf School is closed starting March 12 until further notice.
How would the decision be made to close the school?
The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. While SWS monitors other school closings, including the Seattle Public School District and other independent schools, SWS makes decisions independently based on the school’s unique needs and circumstances, as well as guidance from external agencies such as Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community, the Head of School, in partnership with the Board of Trustees and with guidance from our COVID-19 Task Force composed of administrative leaders, Board members, and health professionals from our community, will make a decision.
Under what circumstances might the school close?
The following circumstances might support a decision to close the school for a period of time:
- An order to close from a county, state, or national public health agency (Public Health – Seattle & King County, the WA State Department of Health, or the Centers for Disease Control) or from the Governor’s office.
- Closure of Seattle Public Schools.
- A confirmed case of COVID-19 in a student or faculty/staff member.
- Significant faculty, staff, and/or student absence.
- An exponential rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region.
What can a parent do to prepare for a school closure?
We encourage you to follow the advice of Public Health – Seattle & King County:
- Plan alternative childcare arrangements in case school is dismissed early and/or closed.
- Follow recommendations from local health agencies about maintaining social distance; find alternative ways to stay in contact with friends and extended family.
- Prepare for distance learning (set up a workspace at home, secure technology devices and accounts if needed).
- Talk to your employer about working from home or shifting schedules.
What about events and gatherings?
We will make decisions about holding or canceling events with an abundance of caution and based on the updated information from Public Health – Seattle & King County. Please watch our school calendar for updates. Public Health – Seattle & King County does advise that to increase your chances of staying healthy, it is best to avoid crowded settings, especially if you are over 60, or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system. Guidelines for Gatherings of Children and Youth While Schools Are Closed
What can a parent do to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19?
Although the current risk to people in King County from COVID-19 remains low in children, the situation is rapidly evolving. Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that individuals prepare now in order to reduce the number of illnesses and negative effects that could occur in our community. We encourage you to stay up to date with the latest information and recommendations from health officials (see list of Health Organizations, above).
How will my child’s education continue in the event of an extended school closure?
Faculty are preparing lessons, assignments, activities, and resources that will allow our educational program to continue virtually in the event of an extended school closure.
When should I keep my child home from school?
Do not send your child to school if you suspect he or she may be ill, and has exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms:
- An elevated temperature of 100 degrees or more during the last 72 hours.
- Vomiting within the last 72 hours.
- Repeated episodes of diarrhea within the last 72 hours.
- Chills, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, and/or lingering headache.
- A significant amount of nasal discharge, particularly if the discharge is yellow or greenish in color.
- Shortness of breath or cough.
- A significant sore throat.
- An earache.
Individuals who believe they have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 but are not currently sick should monitor their health for fever, cough, and shortness of breath for 14 days following close contact with the diagnosed person. These individuals should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days. The CDC definition of “close contact” is a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case or b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
If your child has a serious communicable disease, you must notify the school so we can comply with reporting requirements.
What happens if my child feels sick while at school?
While we usually monitor ill students for a period of time, given the circumstances parents will be immediately called to pick up their child as quickly as possible. Ill children will be separated from public spaces and other children.
What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, have gone to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Always wash hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid close contact (six feet or less) with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 72 hours without medication). We ask you to strictly adhere to this policy.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. (List of EPA registered products.)
What additional steps is the school taking at this time?
The school is taking extra care with cleaning and disinfection processes, with particular attention to common surfaces.
- Additional cleaning of common surfaces by faculty and staff is happening at regular intervals throughout the school day.
- The evening cleaning crew has implemented a disinfectant protocol in addition to the regular cleaning, and deep cleanings are scheduled as needed on weekends.
- All faculty and staff are required to maintain appropriate hand washing and sanitizing protocols upon entering the building and throughout the day.
- School vehicles are being disinfected regularly.
We continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you updated as things change.